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Half-Hearted Health Strategy Disappointing

"Annette King's health strategy is totally disappointing," Opposition Health spokesperson Wyatt Creech said today.

"It is full of repetitive jargon. Its goals are nothing more than "mother's milk and apple pie". No-one disagrees with them.

"The public was expecting to see concrete proposals to improve our health.

"The Health Minister billed the strategy as a founding document to give everyone in the health sector a clear direction of what we will get from the health system.

"They've got a big disappointment in store. Unfortunately the document is full of platitudes and good intentions.

"There are no benchmarks, no quantities, no funding and no certainty.

"The strategy fails to spell out specific targets on for example the immunisation coverage rate, the specific rate of reduction in heart disease, the degree to which Pacific and Maori health will be improved.

"You only have to look at the quote at the bottom of page eight and the diagram on page 13 to realise this health strategy contains a lot of words and good intentions, but little substance and direction.

"New Zealanders are seeking more than this. There is major uncertainty about what the Government is doing with its health reforms, with delay after delay to the structural changes.

"The Minister seems to have watered down what National actually had in place. National's Medium Term Strategy - giving high level guidance to the health sector - and the Progress on Health Outcome Targets - which quantified and measured our progress on things like getting all children immunised - gave a much clearer direction on health.

"Annette King had an opportunity to provide leadership, clarity and direction but she has clearly been distracted with the structural reform and hasn't put enough effort into it."

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